Developmental teacher education: prolepsis in a process of double stimulation: Creating accidental learning experiences on a regular basis

Creating accidental learning experiences on a regular basis

From September 2012 until december 2014 I was a teacher educator in the 'Human & Technology' programme at the University of applied sciences Amsterdam. My responsibilities, among others, were to teach the students in the 'Professional Development Line' (PDL) and take the lead in the development of the curriculum. During a team session on the structure and content of our curriculum I presented the case of Rob as an example of how the practice of thematic assignments in the PDL led to a series of workshops ranging from classroom management to the students' view on the moral significance of teaching, with the help of Kan's 'bumpy moments'(2010). The question raised by a collegue is the same as the one I'd like to elaborate on in this paper:

How do we recreate such ‘accidental’ learning experiences on a regular basis?

The word 'accidental', triggered me, and some of my other collegues, because we regarded our curriculum structured enough to ensure that student would have many learning experiences that would ultimately lead to a competent teacher. However the question was justified, since a programme of meaningful assignments only could not explain, let alone account for, what competences students will or will not develop during the programme. The answer to the question thus should describe the actual teaching practice, involving both the assigments as well as the interactions, classes, workshops, literature and so on.

In the PDL students basically had two tasks in every assigments: reflect on and inquire the theme that is described in your own teaching practice. After an introduction by me, possible models, theories, tools ect. were suggested and explained. After that the students were guided in their process of reflection and inquiry in an ad hoc fashion. To put it bluntly: the students were asked what they needed help with from me. What I did do, however, was trying to stay one step ahead of the students, in their zone of proximal development. For example the literature to be used was not pre-fixed, but I suggested sources that the students themselves might not come accross, or theories that they would disregard because of the complexity.
In this case I invited Carlos van Kan for a guest lecture on moral views on education, after a discussion in the group pointed to the consistancy between what teacher do and what they view as legitimate. I figured that for the students a deeper understanding on the moral value of teaching could help and/or Kan's method, bumby moments, at least would help to reflect on their view. This was not only helpfull for the assigment at that time, but also might help them to define and write their view in their portfolio, which was needed for their final assessment the next year.


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